The auditorium of the Royal Opera House ©2016 ROH. Photograph by Sim Canetty-Clarke

Velvet, Gilt and Glamour Tour

15 September16 December 2021
The Velvet, Gilt and Glamour Tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
Royal Opera House

Whenever visitors see the historic auditorium of the Royal Opera House for the first time, it always amazes them.

Built in 1858 after the previous theatre burnt down, its splendid period character has been wonderfully preserved ever since. There are the rich red curtains of the stage, the stunning ceiling (which now hides very modern technology), the glittering gold of the proscenium arch, and the red and gold lights which replaced the old gas lamps! And enveloping it all is the historic atmosphere of a great world theatre alongside a dynamic working theatre of today. Now visitors can enjoy a special tour of the auditorium that focuses on the architecture and the story of the current theatre. Hear stories of the famous opera singers who have taken centre stage. See the Royal Retiring Room, still used by our Royal Patrons today.

This tour starts at the back of the Upper Amphitheatre, which is the highest part of the auditorium. Anyone who suffers from vertigo or who is unaccustomed to heights should be aware of this and reconsider attending before booking a ticket.

As the Royal Opera House is a fully working theatre, each tour is a unique experience and varies according to what is available on the day. Please remember that you are visiting a working theatre and plans may change at short notice.

Please note this tour does not enter the backstage areas of the Royal Opera House.

Important information about your tour

  • All visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering at all times. Our staff will wear appropriate face coverings at all times and will remain socially distanced from the group.
  • We will be using headsets on our tours so you don’t miss any important information from our guides. All equipment is fully sanitised after each tour. You can use your own headphones if you wish. Please note headphones need to have a standard jack connection to be used with our devices.
  • We encourage you to register for NHS Test and Trace in advance of your visit via the ROH online tracking system. You can also scan our QR code via the NHS app when you arrive at the ROH.
  • Contact-free bag checks will be in operation.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the building
  • We have been accredited by Visit England's 'We're good to go' scheme and SOLT and UK Theatre's "See it Safely" scheme.

Find out more about about our safety measures.

This tour involves a lot of walking and historical facts, so we recommend it for children over 5 years old.

Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult and have their own ticket.


Private tours

Looking to have this tour all to your yourself as private experience for you and your group? Or perhaps you need this tour run in a different language? We can offer bespoke private tours. Send your requirements to


Your tour ticket entitles you to 10% off at ROH Shop and café on the day of your tour. Simply present your ticket at the checkout.



The Royal Opera House is a large building with lengthy corridors and many stairs. Expect to walk and stand for the duration of the tour. Where possible, certain stops in the tour will happen where visitors can sit down, but this cannot be guaranteed since we are a working theatre and the tour routes can vary. If we know in advance, all tours are fully accessible to wheelchair users, those with reduced mobility or any another disability – so we can have the right support in place for you, please contact after you book your tour and we will make the necessary arrangements